OUR COVER STORY by PETER GREEN
The chronicles of Keith Rowley and his administration have left for many, a most bitter taste in their mouths.
It is a Diary of Evil, a record of wrongdoing, a journal that leaves us in pain, scared, troubled and devastated and which has permanently destroyed our psyche, forcing us to live in fear rather than live as truly emancipated.
For the last weekend alone, ten people were murdered – from eight-year-old Makeisha Maynard, a young autistic girl who was killed by his father, to a 61-year-old granny, Jenny Granado who was brutally raped and murdered by assailants still unknown.
Even the police are contributors to the morass we experience as over last weekend four persons were slaughtered by the men sworn to protect and serve. Four bandits invaded the home of a decent citizen and had it not been for the swift action of law enforcement the murder rate would have reached sixty over this weekend.
Under this Government, the crimes have become more brutal. Home invasions have become crueler. Women have become more threatened and the criminals have become bolder.
Many searched for answers for this sweeping behavioural change and could only find in Rowley’s Diary of Evil Deeds, a pattern of state deprivation which was unleashed on the public as never before.
The Diary shows a vast number of people who were thrown off the job market by an arrogant administration.
This number includes the workers of Petrotrin, the greatest sin of this current administration; workers from Digicel as they moved towards right-sizing of their company; workers from TSTT; Guardian Media; OAS Construtora; Unilever Caribbean Limited; GGI Trinidad Limited, just to name a few of the larger employers. There are many other smaller businesses that were either forced to reluctantly sever ties with long-standing employees or shut up shop altogether. To put the numbers placed on the breadline in perspective all one has to do is read the Trinidad Guardian of February 27, 2016, where the Minister of Labour, Jennifer Baptiste-Primus revealed that in 2016, 27 private sector companies retrenched 846 workers.
The truth is that the figure at that point is probably much higher since private companies do not have to advise the Ministry of Labour regarding worker terminations if the retrenchment applies to fewer than five.
The unemployment platform is even worse today if we were to add Centrin, Arcelor Mittall and the number of Government workers whose contracts were never renewed.
Abuses to the construction industry
Within Rowley’s Diary of Disasters are abuses to the construction industry, men and women who on a previous administration’s advice set up companies and were contracted to do work but are still to be paid, by what can only be described as a wicked Government.
The pattern was set early under this administration, when then Minister of Works and Transport, Fitzgerald Ethelbert Hinds, in his response in Parliament regarding payment to contractors, noted that the government was undertaking an audit to determine legitimacy as a prerequisite for payment.
It sounded good in 2016 but in 2020, there are too many legitimate contractors who are still to be paid and this failure contributes to the perpetuation of abuse chronicled in Rowley’s Diary of Evil Deeds.
Tobago cannot be left out for in that Diary there are records of Rowley’s abandonment of those who supported him, who for the first time gave to any party a mandate to run its affairs; but this was rewarded by the air bridge and sea bridge plague which brought a virtual end to many small businesses in Tobago.
Tourism, the revenue stream that Tobagonians depend most upon to survive, was shut down and to add insult to injury, rather than seek to rebuild the fledgling hospitality industry made weak by his administration’s own shortcomings, Rowley focused on Sandals, the international hotelier, known for not contributing that much to economies across the global village.
During Rowley’s Reign of Terror, the nation’s infrastructure was neglected, with roads in an even more dilapidated state across communities. Rivers and the waterways are choked with grass and silt; litter is not just offensive but nauseating and the threat of disease is great. The question is “does this Government even care?”
Seven diabetic patients who became blind
Rowley’s Diary of Disasters includes the entry of seven diabetic patients who went to doctors for treatment, received medication that were not approved by the Chemistry Food and Drug Division of the Ministry of Health. These diabetics became blind and to date, there is no record of anyone being held responsible for this wrong.
All of the above suggest that for this Government, not only are the Mr. Bigs free to do what they want, but that Government is so slack that it does not monitor the importation of drugs used to provide relief to some of the most vulnerable in the society. The first question to be asked is how could doctors administer medication that has not been approved and the second question is what action was taken against these doctors. How did the importer and distributor manage to get clearance to bring it into this country when according to the Food and Drugs Act, New Drugs Section 2 (1) (a) and (b) all must be registered with the Chemistry, Food and Drug Division of the Ministry of Health? What compensation was given to these seven persons for their loss of sight?
The reading of the Rowley’s Diary of Disasters will provide a clear picture why there is so much violence in our land; why we have become so angry; why so many people have shifted to crime and acts of wrongdoing; and why so many adopt a stance of silence especially when they know the painful truth.
This Rowley administration has angered people, has become a vexatious blot on our social landscape and in less than five years, a government that we were prepared to work with to put the country back on equal footing, has become anathema, a hated thing across the country.
Entered in the Diary is the arrogance of the Members of Parliament and we will never forget the provocation of the Minister of Finance, Colm Imbert, after he raised the price of fuel on two occasions and the people, thinking it to be good for national development, did not riot. But Imbert had to provoke us. He had to trample over the poor deriding us for being stupid and threatening to raise the price of fuel once again.
It is actions like these that drive people to rebel; actions of this sort that turn people away from leaders they once loved, governments they once supported because there are elements out there that are not innovative and by whatever means necessary they will find a way to “eat ah food.”
The Diary of Rowley’s Disasters is a story of deprivation; deprivation of the rights of our people; deprivation of the money owed to them by a Government that puts the maintenance of colonial buildings in front of the needs of people, deprivation of proper health system and a lack of development of the nation’s infrastructure, just to name a few.
Rowley’s Diary of Diary of Disasters is a reason for the people to think twice before they vote later this year, that is, if they are to make their country safe once again.
As a nation look where we reach today!